Each day brings us various challenges that must be dealt with, usually in order of priority. The challenges we face are unique to each individual depending on their life’s circumstances except for one. That one challenge that we all face is the most effective use of time. How we use our time determines our effectiveness in life in every area. Brian Tracy said, “Time management is really life management, personal management, management of yourself. People who value themselves highly allocate their time carefully. They give their time usage a lot of thought. When you love your life, you love every minute of it. You are very careful about missing or wasting any of the precious minutes and hours of each day(Tracy, p.41).” I certainly do not view myself as an expert on time management as it is a continual challenge and a constant striving to improve. However, there are certain standards that I have tried to incorporate over the years that have helped me make better decisions concerning the use of time.
- Know and Live by your Priorities– Anyone who has not taken the time to really consider the most important priorities of their life will not make the best use of time. Here is one example. My family has always been at the very top of my priority list throughout my career. I determined many years ago that my wife and children deserved a significant portion of my time. How did this manifest itself in my career? I worked hard so I could finish my work to avoid excessive hours away from my family. I avoided a career that would take me away on continuous, long, extended trips from my family. This was a priority I lived by, and it was shown in how I spent my time.
- Plan the Use of Time– I always plan how I will spend the use of my time by writing it down on paper and working from a list. Plan each day, each week, and each month on paper. Write it down and review it every day. I have found that things not written down usually do not get done.
- Be Conscious of how Time was Used– Obviously, none of us will always make maximum use of our time, but we should review how our time was spent versus the plan. Peter Drucker said an effective executive will “start by finding out where their time actually goes(Drucker, p.269).” Drucker said, “everyone can follow the injunction “Know thy time” if one wants to, and be well on the road toward contribution and effectiveness(Drucker, p.269).”
*Tracy, Brian, (2002), Focal Point
*Drucker, Peter, (2004), The Daily Drucker